Guest Post: A Prayer for Pennsylvania/Marissa Glover

Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be the nameless & unnamed
Give us this day our daily news—
decades of abusers now accused
Deliver us from evil

I do not forgive priests who hurt little children

No matter how much they confess
or kneel or swish with holy water
No matter how many catechisms
or pilgrimages or prayers to the Virgin

I do not forgive pedophiles
or those who look the other way

They can drink the communion cup
until their bladder fills, explodes the prostate—
stuff their mouth with wafers, white as chastity

They can choke on this spotless body
rendered for them, offered for healing
of sickness and removal of sins

May they aspirate halfway through
their Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned
both the confessor and the falsely penitent

Then let them burn
Let them burn

Amen.

This poem was first published at Poetry 24 in August 2018.


Marissa Glover is a teacher and writer who shares her thoughts more than necessary, which she considers a form of charitable giving. If it counted as a tax deduction, she’d be rich. Her poetry has been published at Easy StreetThe OpiateLipstick Party MagazineUnbroken Journal, and Muddy River Poetry Review, among others. Follow her on Twitter @_MarissaGlover_.

Time Sensitive Call For Submissions: “We Will Not Be Silenced”

Bruised But Not Broken, Whisper and the Roar, Indie Blu(e), and Blood Into Ink are joining forces to publish an anthology about the lived experience of sexual harassment and assault. We believe that it is more important than ever before that more voices speak out and reclaim their strength by owning their survival stories. All contributors, female and male, can submit up to three pieces of creative work- these can include; Poetry, Prose, Essay, Short Fiction, Prose, or original Artwork, but should be limited in length (under 1,000 words) considering that this is an anthology. You will be notified if your work is accepted. Please do not consider nonacceptance as any diminishment of your experience, but as with any publishing venture, we must try to fit the individual pieces together into a strong whole.

  • Submission of previously published pieces is acceptable if you still own the rights to your work.
  • Artwork can be submitted in black and white OR color but all artwork should be black and white compatible.
  • Using a pen name or publishing anonymously is acceptable.

All submissions should be sent to bloodintoink2017@gmail.com by midnight, Monday, October 15, 2018.

I Knew My Faults-Sarah Doughty

“I knew my faults.
And they always stared

back at me in the mirror.”

As long as I can remember, I knew my faults. They were engraved in my flesh, repeated so often that even I saw nothing else. I knew every one. Believed every one. I was every one.
I knew my faults when I was toddling around, learning how to speak, how to walk, how to cower.
I knew my faults when I began school. How I wasn’t smart enough, not social enough. How I was a target in school. And at night.
I knew my faults in the dark. I learned my best to do what was required of me, but I was never quite good enough. I knew what my hands needed to do, how my lips should stay soft, or how my hips were supposed to move with the right timing. After awhile, I knew those moves just enough to get by.

I knew my faults. And they always stared back at me in the mirror.

© Sarah Doughty

I Knew My Worth (originally published on Blood Into Ink)- Kindra M. Austin

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck and
boys all lined up to
pet my cleft at the blind side of the playground—
dirty fingers
mercifully uneducated in the intricacies of
female anatomy

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck in
middle school, despite my flat chest and
highly guarded cleft—
face of Helen and an ass that wouldn’t quit,
by the gods, I knew my worth

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck and
high school boys poorly educated in the delicacies of
female anatomy
petted my cleft with excavating fingers—
I sang hymns for my molested hymen

I knew my worth when I gave birth
two weeks before graduation, and I was in love;
my sweet babe, my savior—
she taught me the truth of my worth

Child Welfare- Christine Ray

woman-1006100_960_720

I am in a child welfare class in graduate school

the room is full

Class starts at 4 pm it is dim

warm

my classmates and I are drowsy

we all could use a snack

some caffeine

Unexpectedly,

our professor puts on a film

a surprisingly graphic film

about child sexual abuse
I am fine

I am fine

I am fine

I am not fine

I am rushing out of the classroom

full fight or flight

heart thudding

hands shaking

I just make it to the ladies room

the privacy of a stall

before I vomit my lunch up in white porcelain toilet

my knees sore on the cracked
black and white checkerboard tile

I have never used the words sexual abuse

in relationship to myself before

But my body is telling me a different narrative

as I sit on the cold bathroom floor
I have had lovers who are sexual abuse survivors

I have always told myself

that what happened to me,

was not like what happened to them

That drifting on the ceiling

doing my grocery list my head

while having sex

was normal

That my constant need for control

was normal

That my inability to let anyone touch me when I am feeling vulnerable

was normal

That I cannot look at pictures of myself from certain parts of my childhood without wanting to be sick

was normal

That wanting to die for the first time when I was 12 years old

was normal
As I fight my panic in the bathroom

praying that no one else will need to use it

I am finally forced to finally admit to myself that “Hey, maybe this is not so normal”

I am surprisingly unnerved

as though I have never seen

the young woman looking back at me in the mirror

It takes me some time to regulate my heartbeat

calm my breathing

splash cold water on my face

school my expression into something that resemble

s functioning adult

before returning to class

and watching the rest of that damn film


Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless and is a member of Sudden Denouement. She is also curator at Blood Into Ink and barista at Go Dog Go Cafe.  She is an aspiring badass.

Child Welfare by Christine Ray

woman-1006100_960_720

[Poem by Christine Ray]

I am in a child welfare class
In graduate school
The room is full
Class starts at 4 pm
The room is dim
My classmates and I are drowsy
We all could use a snack
Some caffeine

The professor puts on a film
A surprisingly graphic film
About child sexual abuse
I am fine
I am fine
I am fine
And then I am not fine
I am rushing out of the classroom
In a cold sweat
Heart thudding
Hands shaking

I just make it to the ladies room
And the privacy of a stall
Before I vomit my lunch up
In the ancient, cracked toilet
I have never used the words
Sexual abuse
In relationship to myself before
But my body is telling me a different narrative
As I shake, white in the 3rd floor bathroom

I have had lovers
Who are sexual abuse survivors
I have always told myself
That what happened to me was not like
What happened to them
That drifting on the ceiling
Doing my grocery list my head
While having sex
Was normal

That my constant need for control
Was normal
That my inability to let anyone touch me
When I am feeling vulnerable
Was normal
That the fact that I cannot look at pictures of myself from
Certain parts of my childhood
Without wanting to be sick
Was normal
That I first wanted to die when I was 12 years old
Was normal

As I fight my panic in the bathroom
Praying that no one else will need to use it
I am finally forced to admit to myself that
Maybe this is not normal
This unnerves me
Makes my world feel upside down
It takes me some time
To regulate my heartbeat
Calm my breathing
Splash water on my face
And school my expression into something
That resembles functioning adult
Before returning to class
And watching the rest of that damn film